One of my goals in completing the IMC program is to catch up my digital knowledge to equal that of someone born in 1997. Although social media has been around for 10 years, I still consider it a new, fleeting subject, when in fact, it is very much here to stay. Social Media and Marketing is further changing my opinion of its usefulness in business. But social media has also opened up the formerly buttoned-up business of government.
Five years ago, state and federal government agencies were unsure how to be on social media without fear of losing control of the message. Today social media plays a starring role in communications strategies – especially with the 18-24 demographic. DigitalGov is a great resource for exploring how government agencies are embracing digital, including social media.
On Election Day, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were inundated with “I voted” posts. I voted too, but decided not to join the masses in declaring the deed. Maybe I should have. The USA.gov social media team launched a real-time campaign to answer voting questions and encourage people to vote. People could take #ElectionSelfies with the “I voted” sticker. The team then retweeted 70 of these selfies and thanked 100 random people for taking the time to vote according to Jessica Milcetich, Social Media and Digital Strategist on the USA.gov Outreach Team at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
Two years ago, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York, emergency management personnel relied on social media to get information to people and in a sense comfort them said Emily Rahimi, the New York City Fire Department’s social media manager in a recent interview with Emergency Management magazine.
“The hurricane really got people to understand a little bit more, at least around here, how social media can be very important in terms of communications. They had been hesitant about it because if you’re not familiar with social media, you might focus on what could go wrong with it or how it can be used improperly. But I think that really opened people’s eyes as to how we can use social media as a great tool to communicate with the public, let them know what’s going on within the department as well as how to prepare for emergencies.”
Transparency is a huge buzzword in government. Social media has provided communicators a platform to be real with people. This infographic from MPADegree.org shows just how government uses social media.